What happens in a world, or at least a nation, where most of the population lives semi-comfortably (by historical standards) off a basic income, supplemented by occasional temporary gigs, thanks to the economic output of tomorrow’s technology; a small middle class works at the diminishing number of jobs which can’t be handled by technology; and a smaller-yet minority of the ultra-rich actually design the tech, and/or live off their inheritances a la Piketty? Call it a “low-scarcity” future, as opposed to the full-on Singularitarian “post-scarcity” future.

It seems to me that such a world would be extremely fertile ground for the rise of — you guessed it — a reputation economy. The key is that it wouldn’t outright replace a traditional monetary economy, at least not for some quite considerable time; rather, it would begin to thrive parallel to, and independent of, its capitalistic counterpart. Eventually, though, as I’ve argued before, since we are fundamentally social creatures, in the long run, “at some point it will be better to be awesome than to be rich.”